Market research has found Australian sports fans have a stronger emotional connection with four of our national women's teams than any of their men's counterparts.
Australia's women's cricket team placed first in a report by True North Research, which surveyed 4832 Australian and New Zealand residents to determine which teams generated the greatest levels of pride, trust, enjoyment, respect and bond.
Meg Lanning's World T20 champions were followed by the Matildas, Australian Women's Rugby 7s and the Diamonds.
Women's teams generally have lower familiarity than men's teams, but the Matildas were still found to be Australia's "broadest loved" national team.
The survey, conducted in March and April this year, showed the connection between Australian sports fans and their national teams is as strong as it was 12 months ago.
The study also found "there is nothing like competing recently, successfully and fairly" to build emotional connection with fans.
The women's cricket team earned top spot after their T20 World Cup victory in March in front of a record 86,174 fans at the MCG prior to the COVID-19 outbreak.
The positive results for women's teams came despite widespread concerns over the ongoing success of elite female sport amid the coronavirus pandemic.
"Women athletes are particularly aware of the perilous situation that the pandemic has caused for their sport," True North director Georgie Maynard said.
"They have been active during isolation, recognising they had their own role to play in ensuring the future of their sport, be it through salary cuts, keeping fan engagement levels up and working with the sponsors of their sports.
"As national sporting bodies wrestle with big issues - moving World Cups, finding international teams to play, and how to squeeze in international matches after delayed league seasons - it will bring them comfort to know that Australians have not abandoned their national teams."
The Australian men's T20 cricket team, the Boomers, the men's Test cricket team, the Kangaroos, Socceroos and Wallaroos filled out the top 10 places, followed by the Opals and Wallabies.
In New Zealand, the All Blacks remain the benchmark and have been "intuitively understood to represent the pinnacle for emotional connection" in world sport, according to True North.
The All Blacks' BenchMark EC Score of 251 is the highest score ever achieved by any team from 296 assessments completed by True North.
The Australian Women's Cricket team's score is 190.
The Hobart Hurricanes had the strongest league team score.
Australian Associated Press